A spending plan gives you control. Your plan will clearly show how much money you have coming in, what you’re spending it on and where you can make trade-offs to come up with extra cash. It’s also your first step in meeting larger financial goals. With a spending plan in place you will be better able to find the money you’ll need to reach them.
One of the best ways to assess where you stand financially is to calculate your net worth. When you add up all of your assets and subtract your debts at least once a year, you can clearly see if you’re progressing towards your goals or moving backwards.
Applying for a loan is a common first step toward buying a home, buying a car or going back to school. This Action Plan will help you check and monitor your financial health so you can avoid surprises when you need a loan.
The first step to getting your finances on track is to know where your money is going. But that isn’t always obvious: You may have a good handle on your monthly bills, but what about your daily expenses? You may be surprised by how much money you spend on small items—like food and transportation—when you add up your out-of-pocket costs.
Balancing your checkbook isn’t what it used to be. Before online banking, debit cards and electronic payment systems, you wrote a check and entered the date and amount in your checkbook register. When you subtracted the difference, you knew exactly how much money you had. Not anymore. Direct deposit, ATM fees and surcharges, online payments, automatic transfers and debit charges make keeping your account in balance a real juggling act.
Your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) provides detailed information about your pay and benefits. But the document can look like it’s written in code. Here’s what you need to focus on.
Talking about money issues under normal conditions can be stressful. Talking about them while a servicemember is deployed to a remote location can be more so. The best remedy is to communicate regularly about household finances. That way there are no surprises or added headaches when orders arrive.